The night before was filled with rage and defiance, clashes with police and a spreading tide of fear. Or at least that’s how it came across in the video highlights from Oklahoma City’s first significant protest Saturday in the wake of the death of George Floyd following his arrest by officers outside a shop in Minneapolis.

Then came word that Black Lives Matter, a controversial group of activists, would hold another protest Sunday in the northeast part of the city – home to historic black neighborhoods and scenes of enduring tension between citizens and police.

In the end, it was a peaceful gathering, attended by hundreds of people of many colors and by local politicians and other leaders. There were speeches and a one-and-a-half mile walk in the bright sun to the State Capitol. Whether it will lead to any changes or new understandings is unknown. Later, at night, there were flare-ups downtown with firecrackers and plastic water bottles thrown, but no violence. Images capture the mood of the daytime event.

The Signs

Hand-made signs marked the peaceful protest gathering outside of Nappy Roots Books in northeast Oklahoma City on sunny Sunday, May 31. (Whitney Bryen/Oklahoma Watch)
The Black Lives Matter protest in Oklahoma City on May 31 drew supporters of all races and ethnic backgrounds. (Whitney Bryen/Oklahoma Watch)
A woman holds a sign referencing three black people whose recent deaths have spurred protests across the country, including in Oklahoma City and Tulsa. (Whitney Bryen/Oklahoma Watch)
A woman cheers at a Black Lives Matter Protest in northeast Oklahoma City on May 31. The gathering was prompted by the killing of George Floyd, a black man in Minnesota. (Whitney Bryen/Oklahoma Watch)
Although the protest Sunday in Oklahoma City was peaceful, an underlying anger broke through in many signs accusing law enforcement in general of bias toward minority communities. (Whitney Bryen/Oklahoma Watch)
A woman reads her sign aloud to a friend who was filming her on a cell phone at the Black Lives Matter protest in Oklahoma City on May 31. (Whitney Bryen/Oklahoma Watch)

The People

A man holds up a peace sign while listening to a speakers at a Black Lives Matter protest in Oklahoma City on May 31. (Whitney Bryen/Oklahoma Watch)
Hundreds cheered at Sunday’s protest, prompted by the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25. (Whitney Bryen/Oklahoma Watch)
A woman cheers at a Black Lives Matter Protest in northeast Oklahoma City on May 31. The gathering was prompted by the killing of George Floyd, a black man in Minnesota. (Whitney Bryen/Oklahoma Watch)
A man who introduced himself as Nitro asked protesters to avoid violence, chaos or yelling expletives about police during a Black Lives Matter gathering in Oklahoma City on May 31. (Whitney Bryen/Oklahoma Watch)
A woman pumps her fist in the air during Sunday’s protest gathering in northeast Oklahoma City. (Whitney Bryen/Oklahoma Watch)
Several Oklahoma City Latino residents showed support during the protest. (Whitney Bryen/Oklahoma Watch)

The Emotions

A man claps his hands and hangs his head while listening to a speaker share his recent experience of being pulled over by police. (Whitney Bryen/Oklahoma Watch)
Protesters pound their chests as they chant, “We can’t breathe” during a Black Lives matter gathering in Oklahoma City on May 31. (Whitney Bryen/Oklahoma Watch)
Protesters stood with their fists raised in the parking lot in front of Nappy Roots Books in northeast Oklahoma City. (whitney Bryen/Oklahoma Watch)
A woman holding a sign pumps her fist in support as a crowd of protesters chant, “Black lives matter.” (Whitney Bryen/Oklahoma Watch)
A woman points upward, as if to affirm a speaker or herald progress, during the Black Lives Matter gathering in northeast Oklahoma City. (Whitney Bryen/Oklahoma Watch)

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Whitney Bryen

Whitney Bryen is an investigative reporter and visual storyteller at Oklahoma Watch with an emphasis on domestic violence, mental health and nursing homes affected by COVID-19. Contact her at (405) 201-6057...